Sunday, November 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Per Capita Davis: UC Davis is putting us on the map

Kathreen Fontecha shows off new, energy-efficient lighting solutions designed at the California Lighting Technology Center at UC Davis in November 2010. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise file photo

By
From page A1 | December 06, 2012 |

For years, whenever I traveled outside of the Sacramento region, whether to Europe, Asia, New York or Los Angeles, when the question was asked “Where are you from?” my answer was always either “Sacramento” or “near San Francisco” or “a small town between SF and Sacramento.”

If ever I said “Davis,” the follow-up question was, “Where’s that?” To which I would reply, “It’s in Yolo County,” which was met by a blank stare.

This is changing; at least in my experience. It seems now that everywhere I go people know about Davis. And why? Mostly because it’s where the University of California at Davis is located.

Did you notice the article in The Enterprise a while back titled “UCD visit inspires Dubai project” about how a property developer from Dubai came to town a few years back as a result of his relationship with the university’s Middle East/South Asia Studies Program?

While he was here, he got a peek at the West Village project, then in its infancy and now rising on the edge of the Davis campus. The visit inspired him, and others, to design an energy-efficient sustainable city in Dubai. Significantly, a result of his return visit last month was an agreement for collaboration on energy efficiency research between UCD and the proposed city.

Did you also notice the recent article in US News and World Report that UCD is now ranked in the top 10 public research universities in the country?

Did you notice that the Sacramento region has recently been recognized as one of the greenest in the United States? While our friends on the other side of the river took this as a feather in their cap, a lot of what makes the “region” green is due to UCD.

Did you notice that UCD was named the “coolest school” by the Sierra Club, beating out such notable institutions as Stanford and Yale? This honor resulted from development, implementation and monitoring of a Climate Action Plan that spans the full range of campus facilities and activities.

Just a few examples: The Smart Lighting Initiative aims to reduce energy used by lighting by 60 percent by 2015; the campus has four LEED platinum certified buildings; 85 percent of students and almost half the faculty walk or bike or ride the bus as their principal means of commuting; and, of course, UCD is the home of the vehicle of the future — the plug-in hybrid that combines the efficiencies of an electric vehicle for around-town use with the range of a gasoline engine for distance driving.

The campus recycling program aims for zero waste, and, as an example of how thorough this is, they don’t just recycle the usual stuff. Over the past year, UCD purchased more than 150,000 pens, and they’ve partnered with Terracyle to collect and “upcycle” pens, highlighters and other plastics that normally would have gone in the trash into usable products. Terracycle awards 2 cents for each implement collected to a charity specified by the university.

UCD is walking the walk and demonstrating leadership by getting its own house in order, but its growing reputation is also due to its expanding role and influence locally, nationally and internationally in policy and research focused on energy efficiency.

UCD has about a zillion (slight exaggeration) research centers and institutes working on all manner of issues related to energy efficiency. Some are fairly well known (Plug-in Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Research Center; the Institute for Transportation Studies; the Energy Efficiency Center, the Western Center for Cooling Efficiency) and are regularly recognized for their role in both policy and development of new technologies, but there are more than a few I’ll bet you haven’t heard of.

For example, there’s the China Center for Energy and Transportation, a partnership with Chinese universities. The growing number of people in China who own or want to own cars gives special salience to this research into transportation efficiency. There’s the Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways, which examines all vehicle fuel technologies and how each might contribute to a low carbon future.

And, don’t forget the UC Pavement Research Center that is researching how to produce “cool pavement” that reduces absorption by roads and parking lots of the sun’s rays and instead reflects that energy back into space.

Tying this together is the UCD Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy (they wisely ignore the acronym and just refer to themselves as the Policy Institute) that takes research off the shelf in the Ivory Tower where it may be gathering dust and hands it over to policy-makers to ensure that government at all levels has the best information possible when considering the incredibly important and complex issues related to energy efficiency and climate change.

Daniel Sperling, director of the Institute for Transportation Studies at UCD and adviser to both the state and federal governments, has referred to UCD as the “premier university in the world for sustainable transportation.” And he should know.

People are noticing. The world is noticing. Davis is on the map.

— John Mott-Smith is a resident of Davis; his column is published on the first and third Thursdays of each month. Send comments to johnmottsmith@comcast.net

Comments

comments

John Mott-Smith

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Need for local foster parents grows

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

     
    Tactical robot decreases officer risks

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Hollywood readies its big guns for the holidays

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Couple arrested on drug, firearm possession charges

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Woman confronts suspicious follower

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Bob Dunning: Signs, signs, everywhere a sign

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

     
    For the record

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Berkeley, Santa Cruz students protest fee hikes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Breakfast with Santa tickets are going fast

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Auction-bound student artwork stolen in downtown heist

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    UCD awarded $100M to lead program to predict, prevent pandemic threats

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Probationers, parolees graduate from Yolo transitional program

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Free boot camp, yoga fundraiser this week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Enterprise observes holiday hours

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Bell-ringers still needed this holiday season

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Thanksgiving feast is open to all

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Give blood and get a free movie ticket

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Workshop will answer financial aid questions

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Round up at the registers for Davis schools

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Museum announces holiday schedule

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Yolo Food Bank invites locals to run with the flock

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    At the Pond: Stop, look and listen

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Project Linus seeks donations

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    Swing your partner!

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A6

    Fairfield School enjoys a festive feast

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Right at home: gifts you can use and use up

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

    Dec. 10 jeans drive benefits STEAC

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A9

     
    Davis Community Church history recounted in Sunday talk

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Open your heart

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Bob Hope interview pulled from ‘the vault’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

    .

    Forum

    There’s only one way to fix this

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Students barking up the wrong tree

    By Our View | From Page: A14

    Heartbroken over treatment of teacher

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A14

     
    Rick McKee cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A14

    Google, tell me. Is my son a genius?

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A14

     
    Daryl Cagle cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A15

    Cordial political discourse: Seven years later, the thoughts resonate

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

     
    Easing the stress during college application season

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

    How I want to be remembered

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A16

     
    Watch out for holiday weight gain

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A16

     
    .

    Sports

    Turnovers costly as UC Davis loses Classic, 41-30

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggie men finish off Furman

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Upset-minded Lions bounce UCD from WWPA tourney

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    New, old-look helmets not enough to lift UCD footballers

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Late shot sinks Aggie women

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCD roundup: Seniors play well in Aggie volleyball loss

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    With volleyball playoff berth, DHS accomplished its 2014 goal

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B6 | Gallery

     
    Wire briefs: Kings get past depleted T-Wolves

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

     
    Don’t pass up the parking gift downtown

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A13

    Doby Fleeman: Give thanks for our innovation culture

    By Doby Fleeman | From Page: A20

     
    Honey, spreads showcased at open house

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A20

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, November 23, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8